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19 December 2012
Greg Kandra

A female refugee from Syria prepares food for her family as her son helps her with the stove at a refugee camp in the village of Jeb Jennine, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)

Harsh winter looms for Syrian refugees (Vatican Radio) With Syrian refugees now numbering over half a million, many of them face grim conditions as temperatures drop in the region and there is a looming shortage of essential winter supplies. Father Peter Balleis is the International Director for Jesuit Refugee Services and he says the Syrian refugees and displaced people face great hardship in the coming winter months. He told Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges that conditions are particularly acute in Syrian’s second city of Aleppo which “is cut off from supplies” as it’s virtually besieged. He says there are shortages in the city of “food and electricity” and therefore a lack of heating and that life for the local population “is getting very difficult”…

Pope accepts resignation of Chaldean patriarch (VIS) Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Chaldean Church presented by His Beatitude Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, and convoked the Synod of Bishops of the same church in Rome on 28 January 2013 to elect a successor…

Gaza Christians will be permitted to visit Bethlehem (Jerusalem Post) The I.D.F. is set to issue permits to some 500 Palestinian Christians residing in Gaza, allowing them to travel to the West Bank — specifically Bethlehem, for Christmas. Additionally, at least 20,000 entrance visas will likely be issued to Christian pilgrims who are expected to visit Bethlehem from abroad for the holiday...

Former hostage Terry Waite writes about his return to Lebanon (The Guardian) Last week I returned to Lebanon, a quarter of a century after being kidnapped and held captive for almost five years, most of the time chained to a wall and denied many basic comforts. You might think such a trip foolhardy, but the crisis developing there desperately needs attention. I had been invited to go back to see for myself the plight of the many Christian refugees who are flooding across the Syrian/Lebanese border, and travelled to the Bekaa Valley to visit the refugees who have been forced into exile from Syria. The situation there is tragic…

Tags: Syria Lebanon Refugees Gaza Strip/West Bank Pope Benedict XVI